beauty

Audrey Griffen on what it's like to do makeup for Australia's biggest reality TV stars.

Audrey Griffen considers herself a keeper of secrets.

You know that stereotype that hairdressers are kind of like our agony aunts?

Well, Audrey is the real life version of that… but with more pressure.

Ask a Makeup Artist: How do I get rid of under-eye bags? Post continues after video.

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She is a hair and makeup artist who mainly works in TV circles (you might also recognise her as Channel Ten super-host Osher Günsberg’s wife), and she thinks the biggest misconception about her job is that it’s ‘easy’.

“I think some people think it’s just pretty and light and there’s no pressure or emotional lifting when it comes to makeup or hair,” she told Mamamia.

But there’s a certain fast-paced pressure that comes with working to strict filming deadlines coupled with the emotional maturity and strength that it takes to calm a nervous performer or a stressed out TV host before sending them onto a stage where they’re expected to perform.

 

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“You want to create a space of trust that they can relax and be themselves in and let those negative feelings drop by the wayside. You often workshop problems in their lives whether it’s relationships or work direction or stuff happening with their kids. Everyone has that stuff going on and it does affect their performance.

“We’re like mini psychologists in helping people work through stuff that’s going on,” she said.

In his podcast Better Than Yesterday, Osher explained how he describes his wife’s profession: “Makeup is a set of skills you can learn. But that’s not the job of makeup”.

He was speaking to host and comedian Tanya Hennessy in the episode who explained that Audrey, his wife, helps to calm her down and get her in the right mindset to perform.

Tanya makeup
Tanya Hennessey is a regular in Audrey's makeup chair at Channel Ten. Image: Instagram/Tanya Hennessey.

"I find sitting in that chair essential," she said. "I've rolled into work a few times and she's known that I have not been great and to have someone who understands - who is an empath and is very sensitive is very helpful. Just to have someone that makes you feel heard makes it easier to do your job," she told Osher.

Audrey takes this responsibility seriously.

"It's a very intimate space that you're in. You are basically entering into someone's personal space. Some people sit down and they've had a crap week or there's stuff going on in their personal life and you can sort of feel it in their energy," she told Mamamia.

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"Sometimes if they're feeling something it's hard to get them in the zone. So it helps to bash it out a bit - let them vent in the makeup chair," she said.

It's probably no surprise Osher fell in love with Audrey in a makeup chair.

They met during the filming of the 2014 season of The Bachelor, which Audrey has worked on since the beginning (except for the last season, because she was busy birthing the couple's gorgeous son Wolfie).

"I had been chatting to a make-up artist I'd worked with for years about my love life, and I was complaining about how hard it was to meet someone," Osher told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I remember saying that I can't go to bars because I don't drink, and the last time I was single there were Nokia phones, and what is this Tinder thing?

"She told me she was going off to another job but had a replacement to do my makeup, and said, 'She is lovely, she has a kid, and you're welcome.' "

The replacement was Audrey, and the rest as they say is history. Initially they kept their romance under wraps, before becoming engaged in January 2016 after a year of dating.

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Nowadays, Audrey barely sees her husband if they're both working on The Bachelor.

"We are usually ships passing in the night. I'll get ready much earlier in the day because there's a lot more of them [contestants to get ready] and usually by the time I have packed my kit and left he's still at home finding dinner or getting ready to come into work," she told Mamamia.

Audrey Griffen and Osher
Audrey and Osher married in 2017. Image: Audrey Griffen.

While she doesn't see him on set, Audrey does end up doing Osher's makeup for other events or appearances because there's "no point him going in early to have it done when there's a makeup artist in the house".

Working on a set like The Bachelor, there are girls that've never had their makeup done before, and Audrey admits it's newbies to the game who end up being more hard work in the chair, than professionals who are used to 'glamming up' for TV.

"It may not be what they're comfortable with, and it can actually come out in a constant needing to check what we're doing. 'Why are you doing this?' 'What are you putting on?'," she explained.

There's also the added pressure on a reality show of having to work "hell for leather" as Audrey described, sometimes compromising the exact look you're aiming for just to get the talent ready for the cameras. "But that's also what makes working in TV fun," she adds.

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As a freelancer working in TV, booking work is a bit like putting together a patchwork. "You patch your work together - you might have four hours at one network, four at another and then an eight hour overnight shift somewhere else," said Audrey.

"Sometimes you might end up working a month straight and you do it because you want to keep yourself in the game and go where the work is. You have to be quite good with unpredictability," she said.

As Audrey has matured and become more experienced in her line of work, dealing and carrying other's emotional load has become easier to compartmentalise from her own life.

As Osher explained on his podcast, he remembers once when she worked on a TV game show and had really stressed out and nervous TV contestants in her chair.

"She'd come home with that on her," he explained.

While Audrey admits it can still be draining sometimes, she considers it all part of the job. She's also come to terms with the fact that, "Sometimes you feel like there's nothing you can do to make someone happy".

"I try not to take anything personally. I am not the one going on camera after all - my objective is to make people feel good," she said.

Audrey, however, does have some favourites in the industry, people who she looks forward to getting in her chair.

"Amanda Keller and Grant Denyer deserve their success, they're really nice people and they have a nice energy to be around," she told Mamamia.

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